Spokane and Its New Water System.
The new waterworks system whereby Spokane, Wash., is to take its supply from underground sources at the upriver pumping station, will cost between $50,000 and $60,000, when finally completed; and, although the system has been put in service, much work remains to be done to finish the new plant. There has been expended $41,064.59; an additional $2,000 is due for cement, and the rock work to line the big well has not been installed. Of the $41,164.59, $27,111.87 went for material and machinery, and $13,952.62 went for labor. The two large pumps, figuring in the cost of machinery, required the expenditure of $15,560 f. o. b. Spokane. This project for taking the municipal supply from underground water that passes beneath and through the gravel of the Spokane valley involves a well that has been dug 30 ft. in diameter and 40 ft. in depth. In this well there is about 18 ft. of water at present. The well has not been curbed and rocked up, and the water flows through the well from the adjacent valley. Although the well is but 40 ft. in depth, it is sunk well down the steep hillside at the pumping station, and its bottom is fully 70 ft. below the top of the level plan a few feet to the south of the well. This well has been called a tunnel; but it is more properly a well than a tunnel. Speculation is indulged in as to whether or not the supply from the underground flow will continue firm and will meet the requirement of the city. It has been pointed out that the Greenacres irrigation plant pumps practically enough water under pressure to supply the city. At present the pumping plant connected with the river is able to force 29,000,000 gal. of water daily through the city mains. Each of the two pumps at the new plant adjoining the river plant is expected to be able to force a volume of water through the mains equivalent to that supplied by the pumps that get their supply from the river. When smaller test pumps were put in at the shallow well last summer, the flow from beneath the gravel kept up well; but it remains to be seen how the flow will last under the steady demand of 29.000.000 gal. of water daily; and it remains to be seen whether this drain on the underground flow together with the drain from the big irrigation projects farther up the river will not lessen the underground flow until it will be inadequate.
The Continental Insurance company paid 79,931 claims for fire-losses from 1899-1907 inclusive. Of these 21 per cent, were on account of fires caused by heating; 10.93 per cent., on fires caused by matches; 8.31 per cent., by lighting; 13.62, per cent., by outside exposure, etc.; 4.09 per cent., by sparks; 4.9 per cent., by incendiary; 5.32 per cent., from unknown causes.